While the reviews have been mixed concerning Spike Lee‘s Chi-Raq, one thing the movie does successfully is highlight the concept of an original motion picture soundtrack.
Soundtracks for Black films, especially during the 90s, produced quintessential records that not only set the tone for the movie, but for the era as well. The quality music that came from these soundtracks spotlighted the era’s greatest acts, from Boyz In The Hood to Waiting To Exhale.
The 13-song soundtrack to Chi-Raq features material written by some of the best in music right now, including Chicago natives R. Kelly, Jennifer Hudson and Sam Dew. It also takes the opportunity to highlight local Chicago talent like Kevon Carter, Eryn Allen Kane and Kymm Lewis.
Music has always been essential to the storytelling of Lee’s projects, and the Chi-Raq soundtrack adds a new layer of depth to the film and takes it to another level. While the movie’s plot is one we may (or may not) have heard before, there’s no doubt the storytelling through the music of the rappers and artists addressing the destruction happening in present-day Chicago is unique, raw, and poignant.
Though some tracks are written from the viewpoint of the film’s fictional characters (i.e. Nick Cannon‘s “Pray 4 My City”), other records on the film are reflective memoirs that allow city natives to speak their reality, such as Kevon Carter’s “WGDB.”
Chi-Raq features a star-studded cast including Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, Teyonah Parris, D.B. Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris, Angela Bassett, John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson.
Check out the complete track listing below.
CHI-RAQ – The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
01. Pray 4 My City – Nick Cannon
02. Put The Guns Down – R. Kelly feat. Tink
03. Contradiction – Mali Music feat. Jhené Aiko
04. Born In Chicago – The Bruce Hornsby Band feat. Eryn Allen Kane & Sasha Go Hard
05. Sit Down For This – Mali Music
06. Desperately – Sam Dew
07. Simple – Treasure Davis feat. Kid Ink
08. I Want To Live – Kymm Lewis
09. My City – Nick Cannon
10. WGDB – Kevon Carter
11. I See The Light – Sophia Byrd
12. All Power – Cinque Cullar
13. I Run – Jennifer Hudson